You’ve heard of a staycation. But how about a daycation? One precious day where families wave bye-bye to those time-consuming obligations and say hello to family time. Read on for all the reasons you’ll need to plan a family daycation at Seattle’s favorite beach spot—Alki. Your sandy oasis awaits!

Boy on Alki beach open arms

1. Because you never turn down a street party. Kickstart the summer beach season with a street party and family-friendly 5K race, May 18 on Alki. Start your day running in the West Seattle 5K Run/Walk to benefit West Seattle High School. The scenic course runs along the beach where seal and ferry sightings are almost a sure thing. Then stay to party with SDOT when they shut down the streets and let the people take over (well… sort of). Plan on a costume bike parade (starting at 1 p.m.), DJ sets, a fire truck just waiting to be explored, plus lots of time with neighbors and friends. Party on!

West Seattle 5k from FB

2. Because kites are more fun with a view. Those breezy days at the end of spring and early summer provide just enough wind for some carefree kite flying on Alki. Pack up the kiddos and a tricked-out stunt kite or basic diamond flyer and then lift off!

3. Because summers were made for BBQ. And Alki is the perfect backdrop for grilling up hot dogs and s’mores in their open air fire pits run through Seattle Parks and Recreation. These bad boys are first come, first serve and fill up fast on summer weekends. So pack up some firewood and grill-ready noshables, then arrive early to reserve your space. Bring on summer!

Group of kids at Alki Beach

4. Because there’s even a museum. The Log House Museum provides a nice detour when your lil’ beach bums have reached their daily sun and sand quota. Just a block off the beach, the museum houses West Seattle artifacts and can be toured formally or informally. A small donation ($3/adult and $1/child) is suggested for admission. Learning and playing? Sounds like a plan!

5. Because there’s no tide like low tide. And Alki low tides are some of the most dynamic in town. Wear rain boots and carry a bucket to collect and examine up close all the cool things you’ll find (think crabs, sea anemones and kelp times ten). Or hunt with local volunteers through the Seattle Aquarium’s Beach Naturalist Program. This free, family-friendly program is a great place to learn about the Sound and its inhabitants. The Alki group usually meets at 63rd Ave. S.W. along Beach Dr., and the naturalists wear red caps, so they’re easy to spot.

Beach Naturalist Program Seattle Aquarium

6. Because who can resist a treasure hunt? If there’s one thing you can count on when it comes to kids and sand, it’s their passion for digging. And dig they will when the sensors go off on your metal detector. Bring one and some shovels down to the beach this summer to see what precious metals you can unearth. It’s all treasure to the kidlets!

7. Because pirates are awesome. Grab an eye patch and pirate bandana (weathered hook optional), then head over to Alki for the annual landing of the pirates. A beloved part of the city’s Seafair celebration, this is one cool experience for mateys big and small. Part street fair, part family beach time, this year’s pirate bonanza is scheduled for the morning of July 28. Start practicing your pirate talk now for this one!

Seafair Pirates Landing FB page

8. Because there’s a secret park to explore. Just south of Salty’s, families will find Jack Block Park, and we’re guessing it’s one park you haven’t explored yet. With walking trails, a children’s play area, and a totally cool observation tower, Jack Block’s definitely worth checking out. It puts a whole new perspective on the harbor!

9. Because summers were made for ice cream. And Pepperdock’s has the best on the beach. They serve up Cascade Glacier ice cream scoops as big as your head to hungry beach goers every day. Expect a line on sunny days, but remember it’s worth the wait!

Pepperdocks for Ice Cream on Alki

10. Because the Alki Bath House isn’t the Roman kind. If you’ve ever been to Alki, you’ve probably seen the Alki Bath House. Just east of the Statue of Liberty, this building can be rented for events, and plays host to camps and classes run through the Alki Community Center during the summer. Check the schedule and see what piques your interest.

11. Because family bike rides rule! If you can ride it, you can bring it to Alki this summer. Bike, board, skate, stroll, run, walk or jog along Alki with the family. No streets to cross and a trail that goes on for miles (it continues all the way to Lincoln Park along the shore!), it’s as family-friendly as it gets. Plus, on a sunny day, you can’t find a better view anywhere in the city!

Family bike ride on Alki

12. Because sometimes kids get hungry. When the kiddos work up an appetite from all that digging and rock throwing down on the beach, there are plenty of family-friendly spots happy to help out. Check out Pegasus Pizza and Pasta or Cactus for sit-down dining and delish food. Or grab a slice and a Coke at Slices on Alki. We love their casual outdoor seating. Early mornings call for homemade breakfast fare at the Alki Café . And Spuds is a definite go-to if all that water’s got you thinking about fish ‘n’ chips. 

13. Because there’s even a playground. When the novelty of the beach has worn off, and the kiddos need a change of scenery, head over to Whale Tail Park. This nautically-themed playground comes complete with swings, slides and a boat, from which the kiddos can spot their white whale (or in this case his metallic tail). Land ho!

Whale Tail Park Alki

14. Because you’ve always wondered what a surrey was. Cruise with the fam along the beach this summer with a surrey rental from Wheel Fun Rentals. You can rent them by the hour, and they easily fit a family of five, plus a small furry friend (bring ‘em if you’ve got ‘em) in the basket. You’ll bring a whole new meaning to cruising the strip!

15. Because art is always better beachside. This year’s Alki Art Fair is scheduled for July 19-20, and it’s just one more reason for families to make an Alki date this summer. With art booths, musicians and a slew of children’s art activities, it promises an artfully inspired seaside experience.

Alki Art Fair from FB

16. Because you might spot a whale. There’s life beyond the Statue of Liberty on Alki. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. And if you head over to Constellation Park you might just spot orcas travelling between Vashon Island and West Seattle. Check out The Whale Trail for the low down on these chance sightings.

17. Because lighthouses were made to explore. The iconic Alki Point Lighthouse is open for tours during the summer months. Usually from 1-4 p.m., with the last tour starting around 3:45 p.m. This is beach history at its best!

Elise digging on Alki

18. Because beach time rocks! When you’ve crossed off everything else on this list, don’t forget about simple beach time with the fam. You can sun while the kiddos dig and dig and dig some more. Beach towels, snacks and every sand toy you own are all you need for this one. Three cheers for sunny Seattle days!

What’s your favorite family activity on Alki? Share it with us in a comment below.

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–Allison Sutcliffe

Photos thanks to: Heather Whelan, Sally Heit, Alki Art Fair’s Facebook page, Seattle Aquarium, West Seattle 5k’s Facebook page, Seafair’s Facebook page & Allison Sutcliffe